Colts Kick Off Training Camp At Grand Park In Grand Style

It was a beautiful day. The Colts reported to training camp at Grand Park in Westfield on Wednesday, kicking off a new season and a new chapter. And it was a celebration from sun up to sun down.

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As the sun rose on Wednesday morning, some Colts fans had already put in a long day.

Michael Young and Darius Conner drove over from Richmond, Indiana and were camped out at 4:00 in the morning to be the first to welcome the players to their home for the next three weeks, Westfield's Grand Park.

For them, it's an annual tradition.

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"Every year, we want to be the first ones here," said Young. "It's just dedication. We love the Colts. We wish them all the luck in the world for the season coming up. That's what we're here for." 

And as the sun set, fans gathered in Colts City, where they tossed horseshoes, listened to music, and hung out with Colts cheerleaders, alumni players, and Colts mascot, Blue. 

"Every day that we're out here, we have something different to offer," said Colts Marketing Manager Chelsea Durham. "Pick up a fan guide, pick up a schedule poster, get an autograph from a cheerleader, go through the Play 60 Zone. There's an activity for everyone who comes to training camp."

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Former Colts offensive lineman Joe Reitz and former cornerback Marlin Jackson got a glimpse of the new home of Colts training camp while signing autographs in Colts City.  

"It was the perfect move. Not only for practice, but the experience for the fans," said Jackson. "There probably aren't too many organizations that are putting on a display like this and an experience like this for their fan base."

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"Anderson was awesome. I have a lot of great memories there. But the facilities here are state of the art," said Reitz. "You see how big Grand Park is when you pull up. I think it's exciting. It creates an additional level of buzz and excitement for Colts training camp and for the season."

Excitement about the new location and the new team brought members of the Blue Crew out – and they landed a premier spot right in the back of Colts City. 

"They set this up for us and we couldn't be more happy," said Director Scott Sylvester.

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Their members were just as impressed.

"They showed up and they were like, 'This is amazing that the Colts would do this for us.'"

Just like the Colts, the Blue Crew is celebrating a milestone this season. 

"This is the Colts' 35th year in Indianapolis. This is our 20th year," Sylvester said. "This is our 20th season being the number one Colts fan club."

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And they've got plenty of reasons to be excited this season. 

"We've got number 12 coming back. Good to see him in form again. He looks more excited now than he did when he was a rookie," said Sylvester. "He just looks ready to go, ready to get out there and prove himself again. It's almost like we got the number one pick again."

Westfield Mayor Andy Cook officially welcomed the Colts and their fans to Grand Park. Hosting training camp was a dream he had a year ago and he challenged his staff to make it a reality.

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"I said, 'Let's take this beautiful facility of Grand Park and let's turn it into the premier training camp for the Indianapolis Colts and the top training camp for all of the NFL in America.'"

And by all accounts, they did. 

"Finally, we're here at this family friendly, beautiful, state of the art facility and the biggest reason we're here is for you guys," said Colts Owner and Vice Chair Carlie Irsay-Gordon. "This is an awesome place to bring your family and we're so excited."

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"I've been in two other organizations, which I thought were both outstanding facilities and this beats both of them," said Colts General Manager Chris Ballard. "In time, it will be hard to get out of here because there will be so many people that want to see the Colts. You can bet on that."

It's been months of hard work by the entire organization. And now that the Colts are back to work, they're doing everything they can to make this season a success. And Ballard is asking the fans to do the same.

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"I promise you, we will make you proud," he said. "Our players feed off of you being present and they feed off of your energy and they want to see you. The more you're around, the better it helps us get prepared to win."

And there's no better way for fans to help their team win than by showing up at Lucas Oil Stadium on game day. 

"Fan is short for fanatical. We want to take advantage of that emotion," said Joe Ondrejko, Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales for the Colts. "I think the coolest part about being up here is the fact that we get to have a presence and let people know there are some really good seats still available for the season. We have our ticketing system up here and we can actually put people into seat locations on the spot."

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And you can find them in Colts City every day camp is open. 

After the last prize was raffled off and the band played their last song, the Colts wrapped up the first day of camp with a bang – a stunning fireworks display set to music and it ended with the song that plays in Lucas Oil Stadium after every Colts victory, U2's Beautiful Day.

The Colts kicked off their 2018 Training Camp with a party in Colts City ending with a fireworks show!

It was a beautiful day.

And if the first day of training camp is any indication, this season is going to be lit. 

For information on Colts training camp and to download free tickets, go to: Colts.com/camp.

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